This Norman Rockwell-esque image, shared by Germany’s Information Ministry and posted on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s official Instagram account, quickly went viral. And no wonder, as it appeared to depict the defining confrontation of the weekend’s Group of Seven summit, the divide between U.S. President Donald Trump and the rest of the G7 leaders over Mr. Trump’s unilateral tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.
Taken over the weekend at the G7 meeting in Charlevoix, Que., the photo shows Ms. Merkel leaning over to stare down the recalcitrant U.S. President. Mr. Trump’s National Security Adviser, John Bolton, stands to Mr. Trump’s right. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, his arms crossed, appears to stare at French President Emmanuel Macron, who is barely visible in the photo but appears to be speaking.
Other photos taken of the discussion were soon released, by the White House and the offices of other leaders. One actually shows Ms. Merkel smiling at Mr. Trump. In another, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can be seen standing behind the U.S. President, smiling, with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland at his side. An altered version of the original image also soon made the rounds on social media, depicting Mr. Trump as a naughty toddler in a high chair and wearing a bib around his neck and a bowl of noodles on his head.
Despite the photo’s lionization of Ms. Merkel, it was Mr. Trudeau who would soon feel Mr. Trump’s erratic wrath. En route to his historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after leaving the summit early, Mr. Trump used Twitter to declare Mr. Trudeau “dishonest and weak” after the Prime Minister reiterated Canada’s already announced plans to retaliate for Mr. Trump’s tariffs with levies on certain U.S. goods. On Sunday, key aides to Mr. Trump piled on in U.S. television interviews, accusing Mr. Trudeau of a “betrayal” and warning there was a “special place in hell” for him.